BMW Ready to Test Solid-State Batteries for EVs

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  • BMW and battery developer Solid Power are expanding plans to collaborate on solid-state battery technology, with plans to start testing vehicles with these cells in 2023.
  • The automaker is preparing to build a prototype line at the Cell Manufacturing Competence Center (CMCC) in Germany to test solid-state battery production.
  • BMW says a working prototype with a solid-state battery will be presented before 2025, but market launch times remain fluid for now.

Several automakers and tech startups are already working solid-state battery technology, with the promise of lighter weight and longer EV range being just two of its advantages. The race to offer solid-state batteries in production vehicles is arguably the single most important one in terms of EV technology this decade, with a number of developers pursuing different battery compositions, and working to scale them up from lab to production. line.

Battery developer Solid Power, backed by Ford and BMW, is working on using a sulfide-based solid electrolyte instead of the traditional liquid electrolyte in its battery design, with the same goal of offering batteries that are lighter and higher energy density, compared to traditional lithium-ion designs. .

BMW revealed this week that Solid Power plans to ship a full-scale automotive cell for testing this year. The two companies have also expanded their joint development agreement, which will allow BMW to build a prototype line at the Cell Manufacturing Competency Center (CMCC) located in Parsdorf, Germany, near Munich.

This expanded agreement will allow BMW and Solid Power to carry out cell development and manufacturing activities at sites owned by both companies.

Before the prototyping line is launched, BMW Group staff will work with the startup’s engineers to perfect the cell manufacturing process. The automaker says a demonstrator vehicle with a solid-state battery will appear before 2025.

“Expanding our relationship with BMW is further proof that both companies believe in solid power technology development and solid-state battery value,” said David Jansen, interim CEO, president, and chairman of Solid Power.

Other German automakers are also in the race, with Mercedes-Benz backing solid-state startup Factorial Energy, which is based in Boston and also backed by Stellantis and Hyundai, and solid-state developer ProLogium.

solid power laboratory

Solid Power has developed a sulfide-based solid electrolyte on a pilot scale, but it will soon be ready for actual car testing.

Solid Strength

But BMW Neue Klasse EVs, because in 2025, it will not immediately benefit from solid-state technology. The automaker plans to introduce its next-generation cylindrical lithium-ion cell, dubbed Gen6, in its Neue Klasse model, promising a 30 percent increase in range in the WLTP cycle. So solid-state batteries don’t reasonable around the corner by BMW’s estimates, although the automaker will start testing it in prototypes later this year.

“The new BMW round cell comes with a diameter of 46 millimeters and two different heights of 95 mm and 120 mm,” the automaker said in regards to its next generation of lithium-ion cells. “Compared to the prismatic cells of fifth-generation BMW battery cells, the volumetric energy density of the cells will increase by more than 20 percent.”

However, BMW refrained from predicting fairly When we will see solid-state batteries in production cars, including the Neue Klasse model. BMW expects that before 2030, 50 percent of its sales will come from battery-electric models, but whether the majority of these will be next-generation lithium-ion designs or solid-state compositions remains to be seen. BMW certainly knows other automakers also want to be the first to offer this technology in their cars.

But Solid Power has a more definitive forecast, suggesting that its electrolyte production is expected to increase by 2028 to power 800,000 vehicles annually.

“BMW remains committed to the pursuit of all-solid-state batteries, a technology we believe has significant potential for the future,” said Frank Weber, member of the BMW Board of Management, Development.

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